When can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The first Wisconsin COVID-19 vaccines were rolled out Monday, Dec 14, but some could wait several months to receive some.
How long it takes depends on several factors, including age, profession, CDC guidelines and underlying conditions. The first vaccines were sent to hospitals and storage locations.
Pharmacist Dr Hashim Zaibak said he expects his pharmacies to receive some in two weeks.
“It is game time, Zaibak said. "We are so excited about this. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for me as a pharmacist.”
There are five total stages of the vaccine rollout. Here is a breakdown from Froedtert Hospital, and the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Phase 1a: Health care workers exposed to or treating people with COVID-19 and people living in long-term care or assisted living facilities
Phase 1b: Essential workers (educators, food and agriculture workers, utility workers, police, firefighters, corrections officers, transportation workers)
Phase 1c: Adults with high-risk medical conditions and adults 65 years of age and older
Phase 2: Remainder phase 1 population, critical populations identified by the CDC, general population.
Phase 3: General population with open access to vaccination
Zaibak said he expects to get to phase 1c in a couple weeks, but health experts expect young adults with no underlying conditions to wait longer.
“He or she would have to wait a couple months before we get to stage three," Zaibak said. "Stage three is when the vaccine is going to be available to everyone.”
Most medical experts and hospital systems that spoke to CBS 58 said they expect the general public (phase 3) to have access to vaccines sometime in the range of February-April 2021. Nobody could give an exact timeline.
That timeline depends on how fast companies can manufacture vaccines. The Medical College of Wisconsin said Monday, the initial supply can only go so far.
“We have 20,000 doctors in wisconsin and 100,000 plus nurses," Medical College of Wisconsin President Dr John Raymond said. "We’re only slated to receive about 50,000 doses from pfizer, and about 16,000 doses from Moderna.”
Zaibak said it’s up to pharmacies to determine who fits state requirements.
“It’s going to fall on us to check to make sure that the patient getting the vaccine is qualified to get the vaccine based on which stage we’re in. It’s all going to depend on the stage.”
The cost was picked up by the government, and administrative costs will likely be covered by insurance.
“I don’t anticipate anybody to pay a penny for this vaccine,” Zaibak said.
When pharmacies do get the vaccine, they will likely have to give them out quickly because they don’t all have the extreme refridgeration equiptment to store the Pfizer vaccine for longer than 30 days.